In a broad sense, information is structured, processed and organised information. It provides context to data and allows decision making to be made. For instance, a single customer’s sale in a restaurant is complex data that becomes information when the company is able to sort out the best or worst dish. Information helps companies and organisations to organise their activities and make better use of available resources.
One good example is that the State of Connecticut has a web site called FindMe Connecticut. On this site you can search the state’s database of registered sex offenders. You can also use it to search any other type of public records such as births, marriages, deaths, inmate records and even bankruptcy filings. In this case, the intention of the information retrieval system is not to provide a means of “personalisation” by connecting people through their personal details, but rather to connect people through information. The information retrieved can be used and stored securely on the internet.
In a broader sense, the information retrieved can be used to enable online marketing of goods and services by creating a digital presence. For instance, one of the major objectives of the Cuomo project was to build a digital platform for display advertising. The new digital platform, Cuomi, enabled advertisers to display relevant ads on websites in Connecticut.
The project started in January and closed in June, with the objective of improving the marketing effectiveness of websites, particularly mobile ones. The “digital platform” provided advertisers with mobile-friendly adverts, and this means that the ads displayed in real time are more attractive and relevant than older versions. This new version, Cuomi, was introduced in April and its cost is about one-third of what was charged for the traditional ads. The change, therefore, shows that the purpose of such initiatives is not to make money but to improve the user experience.
So how can we distinguish between useful information and junk? First of all it is important to recognise that the definition of junk and useful information has changed over the last few years. In the early 1990s, the definition of junk meant anything that was not in use. Now, however, it has become more defined as being information that was not required or not relevant, or simply did not add value to users’ lives. A few years ago, Gilgamesh was identified as a possible spammer. However, Gilgamesh’s activities were later proven to be consistent with standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium, who deemed that Gilgamesh had provided information of a very high quality and relevance.
As the internet grows and develops into what it is today, the role of the media is likely to expand even further, with greater emphasis on quality and relevancy of information. The value of information to society will likely grow, and the role of public relations, such as Gilgamesh’s, will become more prominent. In sum, we can say that antedating is now likely to be defined as responding to the demands of society, rather than creating or disseminating information that was of little or no value to the people involved. It is therefore likely to expand into many areas of online interaction and marketing, possibly including Gilgamesh.